Munich opts for open source groupware from Kolab

Munich aims to use as much open source software as possible, and already completed a switch from Windows NT to its own open source Linux distribution

Munich is continuing its switch to open source software with its decision to start using Kolab Enterprise groupware for its city-wide IT infrastructure.

The city of Munich successfully completed its switch from Windows NT to its own open source Linux distribution, LiMux, in December. It created over 14,800 LiMux workspaces for its approximately 15,500 desktops.

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While that part of its switch to open source was completed, it still needed a groupware system to manage mail, mailing lists, calendars and contacts for its employees though. To achieve this, it issued a tender that was won by the Swiss Kolab Systems, the company announced Tuesday.

The Kolab groupware system that was originally developed for the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) will be employed as part of Munich's MigMak project, a abbreviation used by the city to describe the migration of its mail and calendar system, Kolab said. The system is to be provided as completely open-source technology, including the necessary professional support, it added.

All the city's LiMux PCs and the remaining Windows PCs will be using the Kolab Desktop Client in combination with the Kolab web client based on Kolab Enterprise 13, it said.

Kolab Enterprise 13 was introduced in December. It was initially made available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) but Kolab promised at the time that the system would be made available for other platforms.

Enterprise 13 is based on the Kolab.org 3.1 community edition and is completely open source. However, the enterprise version comes with paid enterprise support.

It has, for instance, support for mobile phones and tablets, Mac OS X and applications such as Mozilla Thunderbird, while it also has a Web client and provides email, calendar and other standard features for mobile, according to Kolab.

Kolab Enterprise has been developed with a security centric architecture from its beginnings in the Federal Office for Information Security to prevent corporate and governmental espionage , Kolab said.

The system will be implemented by Munich-based general IT contractor ESG, Kolab said. A customized training program will be developed for the employees, it added.

The city scheduled one year for the migration and has planned to have it finished before the end of 2014, according to the tender.

The city of Munich did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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